Photograph Texture

This is less a tutorial and more a task. Explore the world around you! Look close and photograph the surfaces and textures that surround you.

You will be surprised what objects and surfaces may look like when photographed up close.

Keep taking close-up images as often as you encounter interesting surfaces and keep adding them to your library of textures. These textures are great to use in Photoshop. Some of the textures can be scanned as well.

What Types of Texture Can You Think of?

You can look at textures based on their origin:

Natural Textures are part of our natural world and you find them on objects that occur in nature:

Ostrich - Photo: F.Viola
Ostrich – Photo: F.Viola
  • sand
  • earth
  • rock
  • water
  • tree bark
  • leaves
  • grass
  • fur
  • skin
  • hair
  • feathers
  • scales
  • sky
  • clouds
  • stars

Man-made Textures are part of our built environment and manufactured world:

Rubber Matt - Photo: F.Viola
Rubber Matt – Photo: F.Viola
  • walls
  • bricks
  • concrete
  • metal
  • glas
  • paper
  • fabric
  • wool
  • silk
  • velvet
  • weaves
  • plastic
  • grids
  • corrugated surfaces
  • screens
  • photos
  • prints
  • text
  • paint
  • cement

You see that the list is quite extensive. You could add another category to this and call it imperfections or noise.

Imperfections would be all the textures, that have surface marks that have been added to it and can either destroy the look or appearance or add character:

Steps - Photo: F.Viola
Steps – Photo: F.Viola
  • scratches
  • dents
  • imprints
  • watermarks
  • stains (oil)
  • coffee rims
  • torn materials
  • rips
  • punched holes (eg nail holes)
  • cracks
  • rust
  • melted
  • burn marks
  • fading

Photo Advice

Morning - Photo: Irish Eyes -
Morning – Photo: Irish Eyes –

When taking the photos outside try to take the shot at different times of the day. Preferably pick a clear day, with a blue, sunny sky.

Shoot early in the morning or in the late afternoon to get a low sun and you get sunlight at an angle.

Use a Macro option on your camera to allow for good detail for the close-ups.

Take the photos straight on and from angles. Experiment with the angles and see how it affects the appearance of the surface.

Take the shots without flash. Try some alternatives with flash (to see the difference).

Your Task

Just to get you started… pick up your camera and take your time at taking:

  • 5 shots of natural textures
  • 5 shots of man-made textures
  • 5 shots of textures with imperfections
  • save the images into folders:
    • Image Database > Texture > Man-made/natural/imperfect

3 thoughts on “Photograph Texture”

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